Saturday, June 13, 2009

Over The Wall

The Fillmore, San Francisco
June 12, 2009

In the 3 months since this show was announced it's been one of those big events on my calendar... The type of show where I've asked someone "Are you going?" almost every week... This show was a fucking event: Hometown (well, Oakland!) Metal heroes headlining the premiere hometown venue on the final night of their current North American Tour. Umlaut loves this kinda shit!

In classic old school fashion, Umlaut met up with Old Metal Tim and Photo Ray at the nearby Benihana (Metal?) for a nice pre-show dinner and hang session. I'm pretty sure I hadn't been to a Benihana's since, like, high school... Afterwards we few, we happy few, made our way to The Fillmore.

Given the magnitude of the night, The Umlaut / Old Metal Nation was out in force.. so a shout out to Photo Ray, Old Metal Tim, Pam, Craig, Timo, Erik, Lisa, Quonsan, Jerry, Sven, Jenn, Scaparro, Joe, Nikki Blakk... and at least a couple of others who I'm spacing on right now (sorry guys...).

The Fillmore's floor and balcony were packed as Testament hit the stage and it was obvious they were going to have a great set when the crowd action erupted after the band had been onstage for literally 10 seconds... literally. They kicked off with 'The Preacher' and then things went into overdrive and by the set's 4th song, 'Over The Wall', the crowd action had hit its stride and kept going strong for the entire set. Nicely done, hometown! On the current tour, the band asked their fans in each city to vote online for what setlist they wanted to hear in their town.. so it looks like "Setlist C" won in S.F. and it was tight.

Unfortunately, the mix was rather muddy and the bottom end bounced around like a cannon ball in a rubber room up in the balcony.. Down on the floor it sounded better and the band rose to the occasion of their homecoming by charging through a spirited 90 minute set. I'm not alone when I say Alex Skolnick is my favorite Bay Area virtuoso Metal Guitar God (Sorry Kirk...) and it's always a treat watching him work his axe magic wielding his diverse musical powers. In the bigger picture, Testament are such a solid unit onstage in their current incarnation... and Chuck Billy is larger than life, man.

During 'Over The Wall'

It was cool to see such a large crowd out in force to support Testament's return. The show also lived up to expectations due to the healthy East Bay Old Metal vibe in the room, which of course meant a good number of thrown beers, dudes with neck tattoos, and a more even male / female ratio than alot of other Metal shows. I was kind of surprised I didn't hear anyone shout "RAAAIDEERS!".. but it is baseball season right now. I'm sure some of the East Bay Crew hit the first game of The Bay Bridge Series over at AT&T Park earlier in the evening before marching over to The Fillmore in time for the headliners... Too bad for them Lincecom shut the A's down.

THANKS to Old Metal Tim for sorting me as his +1.

Number of dudes manhandled out of the venue by security = 4. If you bought one of every Testament merch item you would have paid around $355. On the way back to the car, some pimply-faced teenagers called me a fag. On another note, it was bullshit that The Fillmore didn't deem this show worthy of a poster, especially since it was a local Bay Area band who packed the place on this Friday night. Bullshit.